THE DEVELOPMENT OF CITIZENSHIP TO THE END OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
I shall be running to type as a socialist if begin by saying that I propose to divide citizenship into three parts. But the analysis is, in this case, dictated by history even more clearly than by logic. I shall call these three parts, or elements, civil, political and social. The civil element is composed of the rightsnecessary for individual freedom – liberty of the person, freedom of speech, thought and faith, the right to own property and to conclude valid contracts, and the right to justice. The last is of a different order from the others, because it is the right to defend and assert all one’s rights on terms of equality with others and by due process of law. This shows us that the institutions mostdirectly associated with civil rights are the courts of justice. By the political element I mean the right to participate in the exercise of political power, as a member of a body invested with political authority or as an elector of the members of such a body. The corresponding institutions are parliament and councils of local government. By the social element I men the whole range from the right to amodicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilized being according to the standards prevailing in the society. The institutions most closely connected with it are the educational system and the social services.
In early times these three strands were wound into a single thread. The rights were blendedbecause the institutions were amalgamated. As Maitland said: ‘The further back we trace our history the more impossible it is for us to draw strict lines of demarcation between the various functions of the State: the same institution is a legislative assembly, a governmental council and a court of law…. Everywhere, as we pass from the ancient to the modern, we see what the fashionable philosophy callsdifferentiation.’ Maitland is speaking here of the fusion of political and civil institutions and rights. But a man’s social rights, too, were part of the same amalgam, and derived from the status which also determined the kind of justice he could get and where he cold take part in the administration of the affairs of the community of which he was a member. But this status was not one ofcitizenship in our modern sense. In feudal society status was the hallmark of class and the measure of inequality. There was no uniform collection of rights and duties with which all men – noble and common, free and serf – were endowed by virtue of their membership of the society. There was, in this sense, no principle of the equality of citizens to set against the principle of the inequality of classes. Inthe medieval towns, on the other hand, examples of genuine and equal citizenship can be found. But its specific rights and duties were strictly local. Whereas the citizenship whose history I wish to trace is, by definitions, national.
THE EARLY IMPACT OF CITIZENSHIP ON SOCIAL CLASS
My aim has been to trace in outline the development of citizenship in England to the end of thenineteenth century. For this purpose I have divided citizenship into three elements, civil, political and social. I have tried to show that civil rights came first, and were established in something like their modern form before the first Reform Act was passed in 1832. Political rights came next, and their extension was one of the main features of the nineteenth century, although the principle ofuniversal political citizenship was not recognized until 1978. Social rights, on the other hand, sank to vanishing point in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Their revival began with the development of public elementary education, but it was not until the twentieth century that they attained to equal partnership with the other two elements en citizenship.
Citizenship is a...
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